If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that we love a good movie or series, especially one with a strong healthcare focus. In the past, we’ve given you our favourite doctors on the small screen, but with this month being BLACK HISTORY MONTH, and the unfortunate lack of melanated individuals in the healthcare space, we’ve decided to bring your attention to some excellent movies portraying black doctors shining, living, and being on the big screen.
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Grab your popcorn! Here goes our list in no particular order!
1. Something the Lord Made (2004)
The work of black pioneers in medicine often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. This movie featuring rapper Mos Def as African American cardiac surgery pioneer Vivian Thomas (who never went to medical school, by the way) and Alan Rickman as short-tempered but visionary Dr Alfred Blalock and their work in finding the cure for the fatal heart condition Tetralogy of Fallot. Not only do they do this, but their working relationship helps open the door to integration in the surgical world in the late 1930s. Not only is it one of my favorite movies, it’s a must watch while you try to remember the 4 diagnostic criteria for TOF. (Coarctation of the aorta, pulmonary stenosis, ventricular hypertrophy, and what was the other one, again?) Watch it now on Amazon Prime.
2. The African Doctor (2016)
I laughed, I cried, and as a black person living abroad, I related. I love this movie about Dr Seyolo Zantoko, a French-trained, Congolese doctor who decides to migrate his African family to an uber-rural French town. (Did I mention they thought they were going to Paris?) A tale of hilarity ensues, and we see how the townspeople of Marle-Gomont opens their hearts to the good doctor. In addition, Aïssa Maïga kills this role like she does every thing else. See this movie now on Apple TV.
3. Gifted Hands (2009)
Political aspirations aside, it can’t be denied that Dr Ben Carson is truly a medical hero. This biographical film tells the tale of Dr Carson’s life from his poverty-stricken childhood in Detroit to becoming a famed neurosurgeon and one of the pioneers of pediatric hemispherectomies. Starring Cuba Gooding Jr, it’s a great watch for when you feel that #medlife has become unbearable and you can’t make it. Watch it now on Netflix.
4. No Way Out (1950)
Sidney, Sidney, Sidney. The legendary actor who made his mark as the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Actor gave an excellent performance in this movie that was ahead of its time. In the film, Poitier plays Dr Luther Brooks whose ethics are tested while treating a racist and hateful robber. Drama ensues and the young doctor questions his own abilities in the face of prejudice, thus leading the viewer to ask themselves – what would I do? Watch it on YouTube.
5. Love or Something Like That (2014)
What would you do if your work and your past became tangled? If you know me, you know that I absolutely LOVE African movies. If you love African movies, then you know the beautiful Joselyn Dumas who stars alongside John Dumelo as new bride and doctor Kwarley Mettle, a rising surgeon who finds out that she may have HIV/AIDS when an old boyfriend becomes her patient. Can love conquer all? Watch this Ghananian-Nigerian film. Watch it on IrokoTV.
These were my faves, but what black doc movies do you like? Let us know in the comments!